Meet the MD: Paul Shields, Tait Walker LLP

Meet the MD: Paul Shields, Tait Walker LLP

Paul Shield has been with independent accountancy firm Tait Walker for over ten years. He tells BQ about growing within the business, always striving for better, and the challenges of the digital age...

What is it the company does?

We are an independent firm of chartered accountants. Our specialist team provides large corporates, owner-managed businesses and individuals with a complete set of accountancy and advisory services.

Describe your role in no more than 100 words

I am an associate partner in the business services team and I am responsible for a portfolio of clients. I act as the main lead for my clients to deliver the accountancy lead services they require. I often attend client board meetings and assist clients with strategic decision making. I have a wide range of clients but I have worked alongside businesses in manufacturing and engineering and the construction sector.

Give us a brief timeline of your career so far – where did you start, how did you move on?

I started working for an accountancy firm in Sunderland called Laverick Walton in 1998 as a trainee. I completed my training and was promoted to audit, accounts and payroll manager.

I moved to Tait Walker in 2007 and started working in the audit team and was promoted to associate partner in 2016.

What do you believe makes a great leader?

It’s difficult to say one thing as I have worked with some brilliant leaders who are very different in character and nature but having a vision and the ability to articulate the vision in a way which brings people together, is a brilliant quality.

What has been your biggest challenge in your current position?

I have had a few internal promotions to get to my current position, so establishing myself within the role with colleagues, other partners and clients has been a challenge. The day-to-day demands are also very different which do take time to settle in to.

How do you alleviate the stress that comes with your job?

Having a good support structure around me helps a lot, I am fortunate to have good friends and family to chat to, usually over a beer or glass of wine. I also enjoy playing cricket and I am actively involved in coaching and administration at the cricket club, and when time allows playing golf.

When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I always wanted to be a professional cricketer, I played at junior county level until 16 but I realised well before then that it wasn’t going to happen.

Any pet hates in the workplace? What do you do about them?

I am fairly relaxed and fairly easy going in the office and try not to let too much get to me as I suspect that I annoy the others around me probably more than they do to me.

Where do you see the company in five years’ time?

Continuing to grow and develop. Digitalisation will have taken over a lot more of the process work we complete so I see a change in how we deliver what we do and a lot more advisory work. Having just opened our Durham office I am hoping that this is established with an increase in staff and services based out of that office.

What advice would you give to an aspiring business leader?

Learn as much as you can from leaders in and around you, both their good and bad habits. But don’t try to imitate or copy others, you have to be true to yourself and your beliefs and develop your own style.

What do you wish someone had told you when you started out?

Surround yourself with good people and people you trust and be brave!